My experience has been somewhat different. I first ventured inside the Molten Alliance's lair beneath the Shiverpeaks an hour or so after the Vigil breached the gate. No-one knew what to expect and we had no strats to follow, let alone exploits to, well, exploit. We barreled through the whole thing without single death until we reached the bosses. My ranger was never even Downed. The boss fight did see a lot of us lying on the ground, but everyone got revived as necessary and we beat both bosses on the first attempt.
Mrs Bhagpuss did the run on both of her accounts in PUGs during the first couple of days and had no more trouble than I did. That left us needing just one more trip to finish up Flame and Frost on my second account. Not wanting to leave it right to the end I took my Elementalist out to Wayfarers Foothills last night to get it done. Mrs Bhagpuss came along with her Necromancer to see what she could get out of the chest.
Having read the posts linked above, and given the relative cakewalk the dungeon had been for a totally unpracticed and inexperienced PUG on the opening day, I was expecting to get the whole thing out of the way in half an hour or so. Two hours later my Ele stumbled out into the bitter Shiverpeaks wind dressed in nothing but her underwear, surprised and profusely grateful to have gotten out at all.
|How did it come to this?|
Back to the beginning. There weren't many people waiting outside when we arrived. My plan was to reply to the first LFM request, join up and follow whoever took the lead, let them do the work while we trundled along at the back and did we were told. Only problem with that plan? No-one Looking For More. There weren't any parties there at all.
Rather than stand around complaining about it in the traditional fashion we joined the only other person LFP, a Thief, and started recruiting. The problem with recruiting, of course, is the people you recruit tend to think you're going to lead them. Having done the dungeon precisely once, and not having understood much of what was going on even then, I made the point strongly as we acquired each new member that I wasn't in charge and anyone who thought they knew what they were doing was welcome to put on the Captain's hat. No-one took me up on the offer.
We had five people in no time. So fast in fact that I was still recruiting and had to have it pointed out to me that there were already five of us. We stepped inside the Dungeon and before anyone could even speak to Rox one person announced his doorbell was ringing and another let on that he had to see to his dog. As the Thief observed, better then than when we were on the final boss.
|Our thief, on the way to do something thiefy|
It all started so well, too. The ambush was dispatched almost derisevely. We loped along behind Rox and her burrowing machine burning down anything that got in our way. Mrs Bhagpuss's Sylvari necro, blithely ignoring Rox's warnings about hot coals, set herself on fire in her eagerness to get her hands on the Azurite, but her leaves were barely singed.
|Everyone's on fire. That's probably not a good thing.|
|She's usually so demure, too|
He needed all his feline patience because from the moment he joined us things went rapidly downhill. I struggle to explain why, because bringing him on board made the party considerably stronger as a unit, especially since he took on the role of leader most efficiently, something we'd been muddling through without until then. Nonetheless we managed to wipe again half way through rescuing the prisoners and much of the time two or even three players were Down. Rox did a great job reviving us.
We made it to the Platform, battered and bruised but still in good spirit. A brief discussion ensued over which Boss to kill first. Everyone who had an opinion agreed on the Berserker. It was at this point that the Ranger let slip he'd done the dungeon about twenty times already, something he'd very wisely kept to himself until then.
|Great grouping with you Rox...|
That left The Berserker. He was a nightmare. My only other experience of him was that he offered a tough fight, but my earlier group had run him around, worn him down and taken him out on the first attempt. This time it didn't go that way.
Each time we tried we ended up with three people Down and two trying to kite to victory. One time it was me and the Ranger and in what seemed like several hours we got Berserker Bill to 50%. I'm pleased I got that one good run even though it did us no good in the end because other than that I spent most of the time lying down. At least it made it look like I was trying.
|...and you too Frostbite!|
The key to victory was probably when the Guardian/Ranger duo finally gave up trying to get the rest of us back on our feet. Indeed, I would say that in both groups it was trying to revive others that made the fight seem more difficult than it really was. Without the need to stop and make targets of themselves the two were able to find a rhythm, playing the Berserker between them, wearing him down steadily until he finally fell over and we all stood up.
Wanting to show willing I grabbed a bomb and placed it and in a few seconds we were all crushed together in the lift. Rather embarrassing in my Ele's case, given what she wasn't wearing. The Guardian linked the Tonic recipe he'd gotten from the chest so I guess he was happy he came, which was just as well as he'd had to do most of the heavy lifting. We said our goodbyes and I made a hasty trip to the Repairer.
|Everyone find something else to look at!|
Was it fun? In a way, although I'm not sure "fun" is the right word. Completing something you set out to do do even though it turns out to be a lot harder than you expected is satisfying. Getting it done in good company, with good humor and a few jokes is even better. In the end, though, I can think of a lot of more fun ways to have fun. I hope ANet can, too.